It Bears Repeating…

Deleuze and Guattari are aggressively evangelical as they preach the good news of the plane of immanence. One cannot deny the evangelical tenor of their statements on Spinoza, “the Christ of the philosophers” when they say “Spinoza was the philosopher who knew full well that immanence was only immanent to itself and therefore that it was a plane traversed by movements of the infinite, filled with intensive ordinates. He is therefore the prince of philosophers. Perhaps he is the only philosopher never to have compromised with transcendence and to have hunted it down everywhere. In the last book of the Ethics he produced the movement of the infinite and gave infinite speeds to thought in the third kind of knowledge. There he attains incredible speeds, with such lightning compressions that one can only speak of music, of tornadoes, of wind and strings. He discovered that freedom exists only within immanence. He fulfilled philosophy because he satisfied its prephilosophical presupposition.” Amen. (What is Philosophy?, 48.) One has to wonder if this hasn’t turned itself inside out and become religion without vertical Being or imperial State; but only a fool woold wonder if they are pious.

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35 Responses to “It Bears Repeating…”

  1. Evgeni V. Pavlov Says:

    i’m not sure what you mean by “evangelical” – does it suggest that if someone is proposing a new exciting view and suggests that it might be of interest to others (like What Is Philosophy?) then it is somehow preachy?

  2. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    I mean they act as if they are bearing good news – and they are.

  3. larvalsubjects Says:

    Is it a revelation? I’m unclear as to how you’re using the term “religion” here. I’m certainly not hostile to the sort of “religion” you describe above. My gripe is with “vertical being”, eschatology, transcendent law, heaven and hell, etc. Yet don’t we require ritual, revelation, organization, and so on for something to count as a religion? It seems to me that all D & G are saying is that Spinoza is the thinker to most consistently think and demonstrate immanence. Wouldn’t you also need to be actively engaged in proselytizing to count as “evangelical”? I suppose they’re writing so that could be loosely characterized as proselytizing… Though it seems like a very loose connection to me.

    Hopefully you will not respond to me, if you respond at all, with insults or attacks and hopefully you will not take these questions as an attack. I’m exceedingly unclear as to what you mean by “religion”. It’s tremendously difficult for me to think of religion in terms that do not involve some appeal to the supernatural and otherworldly, outside of nature. On the other hand, when I reflect for a moment, I’m given to understand that some variants of Buddhism are entirely secular in this way– They posit nothing otherworldly, no supernatural entities or interventions, no god figure, no separation between body and soul, but only a way of life that promises to achieve piece of mind. Nor do they proselytize or strive to legislate their way of life. Yet this sounds more like a philosophy to me– specifically a variant of Epicureanism –than a religion. I have no idea whether these forms of Buddhism actually exist or not.

  4. larvalsubjects Says:

    Or to put it differently, I am asking these questions in good faith. As I said, my gripes are with a particular sort of socio-ontological formation or what you’ve nicely called vertical being (I plan to steal that). I dislike religions characterized by vertical being, ontologies, and social formations whether we’re talking about Stalin, Hitler, a boos in the workplace, a guru like Lacan (the social formation, not the theory), etc. I tend to associate religion with “vertical being”, but perhaps there are variants that are not. I suppose the issue is “what are the sufficient conditions for the possibility of something counting as a religion.”

  5. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    Levi,

    It’s hard not to take your writings as an implicit attack and though you seem scared of me insulting you I don’t comment at your blog because almost always you foreclose the possibility of discussion via aggression, blind alleys, and even insults. I’m not saying this to insult you, though I recognize it may, but I find your caveat entirely unfair.

    I study religion and the philosophy of religion almost exclusively. When you refer to me as a professional theologian it’s not only inaccurate, but speaks to a certain ignorance of what theology does (which I study as part of a study of religion, but I don’t do theology). One of the things I tend to do is let the religion define itself. You seem to have a very rigid boundaries in your thought concerning what is properly (and this is always a certain relation to intellectual land owning – property) philosophy and what is properly religion. You seem to have your own reasons for this and it appears to function for you, but via experience of religions and religious practices I can’t make such a hard distinction. Structurally they share much and it seems a mistake to me of the intellect to try to posit one as more originary or more pure for the other one.

    For this reason I can’t delineate revelation, eschatology, or ritual outside of philosophy as easily as you can. To my view your way of thinking excludes a whole host of philosophical issues, which I’m sure is necessary for your particular project, but they are the very issues that matter for my project.

    If writing and lecturing is loosely characterized as proselytizing, there are very few proselytizers in the world.

  6. larvalsubjects Says:

    Anthony, I see no reason for this to be approached at the level of the personal (your biographical references to what you do, etc). These are ad hominem issues that are irrelevant to the questions involved. By “ad hominem“, I am not referring to abusive arguments attacking the person, but the introduction of personal material as if it is somehow relevant to establishing a particular claim. I bring up the issue of attacks not because I’m attacking you, but because your characteristic first response to those who do not share your views is not to defend them with elaboration, explanation, clarification, and careful argumentation supporting your claims, but to attack the person who’s questioned you as if they’ve somehow terribly insulted you in an unjust fashion. You’ll recall that in first encountering you over at the Valve I wrote a post on your rhetorical strategy. In asking you these questions I am expressing my ignorance. I’m asking for clarifications about the nature of religion as you understand it. As we all learn in our logic classes, it’s impossible for any discussion or dialogue to occur if we can’t come to some minimal agreement as the definition of terms– even if those definitions are only provisional or operational. I have proposed my understanding and you are free to clarify yours in response.

    It seems to me that the questions I’m asking are internal to philosophy itself. It is relatively uncontroversial to state that philosophy begins in distinguishing itself from mythos. Where one way of explaining the world and values consists in telling a story or giving a narrative, another way of explaining the world consists in logos, or giving accounts based on experience or reason. Philosophy begins with logos. What is at issue here is the sorts of reasons or arguments admissible in supporting a claim. Philosophy strives to bracket any narrative grounds to support a claim, and admits only those claims that could be drawn from reason or experience. Thus, for example, the philosopher would be uninterested in Moses climbing a mountain and receiving a list of commands from God in support of the thesis that we shouldn’t eat shellfish. By contrast, a philosopher would be very interested in a argument to the effect that we shouldn’t eat shellfish because they make us sick.

    The issue here isn’t about God, but about grounds. For instance, when, in the third meditation, Descartes sets out to prove the existence of God, I take him to be doing philosophy because he is attempting to give a logos based proof for the existence of God, rather than appealing to a narrative or a story to support his claim. Similarly when Whitehead argues for the existence of God in Process and Reality, or when Thomas gives arguments for the existence of God. When Marx (under one reading) claims that history is moving towards a particular goal, or when Hegel makes similar claims, I consider these instances of philosophy due to how these claims are supported or demonstrated. I take it this differs in kind from someone appealing to the book of Revelations to claim that history is moving towards some sort of goal or end. I entirely agree that philosophy and religion discuss a number of overlapping issues– God, the immortality of the soul, morality, etc –but to my thinking they approach these issues in very different ways.

    I find it unlikely that you genuinely allow religion to define itself. If this is the case, you would not suggest that Deleuze and Guattari are here expressing a claim about religion as 1) they do not here refer to religion (unless you take the reference to Christ to be an endorsement of religion rather than an analogy), and 2) their collaborative writings are peppered with a number of highly critical, if not downright hostile, remarks about Christianity and religion. The fact that you claim this is a religious claim entails that you must have some precomprehension of what religion is that allows you to recognize instances of it when you see it. I am asking for a more explicit articulation of that concept at work in your thought. Given your remarks in the post, in response to me, and in response to the other poster, I take it that minimally you would hold that any claim that asserts “the good news” and that implies some sort of salvation is a religious claim. That’s a start at a definition.

    I wonder, however, if this is a sound or sufficient criteria. Suppose the United States were to fall into a state of constant economic, political, and social turmoil, such that people were living in abject conditions, suffered from hunger, poverty, and disease, and there was constant warfare and death. Now, suppose in such circumstances a group or leader came along that established order and peace, and helped lift the people out of their abject conditions through a new form of government. Suppose that someone exclaimed, “Lenin,” this new leader, “is our Christ!” Would that be a religious claim? If not, how does this claim differ essentially and qualitatively from Deleuze and Guattari’s claim (one can imagine scientists describing Galileo as a “Christ” due to what he made possible in natural science). If so, what is it, exactly, that makes these claims religious?

    Again, it’s difficult for me to see how we can have religion without ritual and some sort of social organization. Therefore, when Plato demonstrates the immortality of the soul, etc., I see him as doing philosophy, not religion. I am willing to be corrected on these matters should you be capable of providing compelling and defensible arguments and clarifications.

  7. larvalsubjects Says:

    And it’s not being “hard-headed” or “rigid” in my thinking, Anthony. I think my interactions with others on my blog are pretty compelling evidence that I modify positions in response to engagements with others. My engagement with N.Pepperell with Rough Theory and the issue of self-reflexivity is a good example of that. We’ve had heated discussions about that for months and there’s been quite a bit of development over time. Rather, it’s that I don’t simply take the words and assertions of others at face value when they’re not developed. In your response above, for example, you make a series of arguments from authority, rather than providing reasons:

    I study religion and the philosophy of religion almost exclusively. When you refer to me as a professional theologian it’s not only inaccurate, but speaks to a certain ignorance of what theology does (which I study as part of a study of religion, but I don’t do theology). One of the things I tend to do is let the religion define itself. You seem to have a very rigid boundaries in your thought concerning what is properly (and this is always a certain relation to intellectual land owning – property) philosophy and what is properly religion. You seem to have your own reasons for this and it appears to function for you, but via experience of religions and religious practices I can’t make such a hard distinction. Structurally they share much and it seems a mistake to me of the intellect to try to posit one as more originary or more pure for the other one.

    Translation: “I’m a researcher in philosophy of religion and an expert on these matters, you are not. Therefore shut up and take my word for it.”

    Presumably you know this is an argumentative fallacy. You’re not doing yourself any favors by blustering in this way rather than more articulately developing your position. You have everything to gain by actually developing your arguments and concepts (for yourself, not because you’ll persuade me, though you might), and nothing to lose.

  8. Evgeni V. Pavlov Says:

    wow, these are some wordy comments, gentlemen! i personally thing “evangelical” is a great adjective and it needs a bit of larger circulation – like “deconstruction” or “dialectic” – imagine one day a completely secular conversation you overhear on the bus: “yes, he’s a nice guy, but he gets so evangelical about his love of soft cheeses, i can’t stand it!”

  9. Alex Says:

    Levi,

    Its kind of a Western misunderstanding of Buddhism and a deterritorisation from its original context to think that the dominant forms do not have an vertical being or place for the supernatural. Theravadan Buddhism, which likes to consider itself in some sense the truest adherents to the Buddha’s original teachings certainly believes in levels of heaven and hell and supernatural beings which one may be re-born as. Even if one were to remove these elements, then the central conception of Buddhism, that is the release from the cycle of re-birth as a result of an lack of clinging, striving etc, seems to quite definetly posit a metphysics which involves something “supernatural”, as is commonly understood by Westerners, indeed, I cannot see how karma is not “supernatural”. The fact that the core of this form of Buddhism and Buddhism across the board is the Dharma, a set of rules that the Buddha laid down in order to achieve enlightenment and reduce suffering seems to run contrary to the idea that they do not “legislate their way of life” – Buddhist monks have incredibly strict rules. The idea that Buddhism is just a philosophy is Western orientalism I am afraid, as almost any scholar will tell you.

    As for the relation between religion and philosophy, I really cannot see how the two have not always been intertwined with one another and I think that in the Western tradition this can be bourne out historically – to quote Milbank “once there was no secular”.

  10. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    ‘I see no reason for this to be approached at the level of the personal’

    You obviously do as you refer to the personal quite often, usually my person, but the point remains.

    My point that I study mainly religion and philosophy of religion was an attempt to get past what I take to be your misconceptions about what I’m trying to do. You often call me a theologian, and yes, I’d like you to shut up about that, but in terms of getting you to shut up about religion, you’re of course welcome to your opinion (as your students will tell you) but I’ve attempted in the past to show why I think it is flawed and you remained unconvinced. That’s life. I have no real interest in continuing a discussion that I don’t think is fruitful with someone who is, in my experience, rigid on this particular issue.

    The notion of defining religion is pretty anathema to my approach to philosophy. I’m not a sociologist. So if you want to discuss this particular issue with me you have to allow me to do it on my terms. I’ve schematized religious characteristics in the past and they are easily available throughout the internet if you are actually interested in my views, but I’m not going to drop what I’m doing now to re-articulate what I’ve spent time and energy already doing or to post thoughts I’m not quite finished with.

    I will say something rather oblique, because I find the problem of manifestation interesting at the current moment, concerning my allowing religion to define itself does not mean the same thing as allowing religious groups to define themselves. I take it that religion is a real thing, regardless of construction, and that it thus manifests. One has to look at the very manifestation of the manifestation of religion, which I take to mean religion has a reality that is not merely discrete. Thus when someone says, “Lenin is Christ!” and makes pilgrimages to his tomb (against his wishes) there is a certain manifestation of religion.

    Of course you can say I haven’t argued for this sufficiently, but you’ll just have to wait for the peer review since this is just a pub and this is just a conversation. That’s my understanding of this particular medium, I understand you think of your blog as more of a salon or something. Obviously these views are incompossible.

  11. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    ‘The idea that Buddhism is just a philosophy is Western orientalism I am afraid, as almost any scholar will tell you.’

    Don’t make arguments from experience or authority – we’re Americans!

  12. Alex Says:

    The whole Buddhism is a philosophy thing is one of my pet peeves though, makes me very angry. Talking to someone anyway, shooting the shit and they come out with something as incredibly stupid as “you know I kind of like Buddhism, because its not really a religion, its more of, you know, a life philosophy”.

    No offense intended to Levi, I know he isn’t doing this, mind you!

  13. larvalsubjects Says:

    Alex, thanks. I understood that there are the variants of Buddhism you describe (they’re even predominant, aren’t they?), but was unsure as to whether or not there were others such as the one I described. I have heard others describe it in these terms, but always from (as you point out) Westerners interested in “Eastern philosophy”.

  14. Alex Says:

    As I said, to imagine a Buddhism divested of all its supernatural/metaphysical elements seems impossible, or a very Westernised version which has nothing to identify itself as Buddhism – Zizek does a number on this kind, and rightly so.

    And they are predominant.

  15. larvalsubjects Says:

    Anthony, I only draw attention to the personal when there’s a predominance of personal comments. Otherwise I think it’s fairly tangental.

    Could you say a bit more on what, precisely, you mean by “manifestation”? What is it that makes for a manifestation? In Kant, for example, we have a clear criteria for the sublime: sublime is what occurs when thought strives to think something that is exceeded by intuition. What is unique to manifestation? Or to put it in Deleuze and Guattari speak, what is the concept proper to manifestation?

    For the sake of terminological clarity, can you roughly describe the difference between theology and philosophy of religion? The philosophers of religion I know and work with treat this term pretty broadly, such that, for instance, Freud’s Future of an Illusion would be entirely appropriate in a philosophy of religion class alongside Thomas’ proofs for the existence of God or readings of Scotus on univocity and God. What is it that distinguishes theology from these sorts of texts?

    As for you giving arguments as to why I have a poor understanding of what religion is, I can’t say that I’ve seen you once provide such an argument. You often and predictably say my understanding is “shit”, or use some similarly colorful description, yet you never give any real account of what is mistaken about this conception. Certainly you understanding that claiming something is shit is a fallacy of relevance, as it doesn’t establish the truth of the conclusion and has no relevance to the claim being made. Were you to give such clarifications and arguments you might very well see me “budge”.

    My worry about the lack of even an operational or a provisional definition in any area is that it leads to a situation where the person advocating this prima facia open and tolerant position ends up, in practice, simply making whatever they want be what they say it is, i.e., it all becomes a matter of personal whim.

  16. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    Levi,

    That’s completely unfair to say that I’ve only said your understanding of religion is “shit”. I’ve explained why it was shit too. It appears you just got too distracted by this word to notice, or you were too busy denouncing me as a third columnist for the religious right. And here I thought you just weren’t convinced only to find out you never read them!

    I do love the essay questions you ask. Classes started this week, huh? I would think manifestation could be taken in a pretty straight forward sense as the coming to appear. But as I said, it’s just something that caught my attention at the moment as I’m sketching out my outline for a chapter, so it’s hardly a term I’ve married.

    Do you really need me to sketch out the difference between philosophy of religion and theology? Or is this some kind of Socratic move? I’ll say, for the sake of fun, but quite provisionally that one can view theology as grounded in the discourse of a religious community, another sees it as arguing principles from the highest (i.e. political theology), and another is simply the science or logos of God.

    I wouldn’t tend to focus on philosophical theology in philosophy of religion (i.e. proofs for the existence of God) because I conceive of philosophy of religion to be more like the work an ecologist does. That’s not to say I wouldn’t teach the proofs as part of a course and also take a look at the critiques of religion, since that is all part of the history, but I think these tend towards a kind of armchair theologian (in the sense of doctors of the church) that I’m not too interested in.

    Whose turn is it to get this round?

  17. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    ‘My worry about the lack of even an operational or a provisional definition in any area is that it leads to a situation where the person advocating this prima facia open and tolerant position ends up, in practice, simply making whatever they want be what they say it is, i.e., it all becomes a matter of personal whim.’

    That is obviously a risk, not going to deny that, but the definition game tends towards an argument that moves further and further into abstraction since I take it as axiomatic that all things exceed their definition. Plus it seems pretty obvious that the creation of a definition is a matter of personal whim or is at the very least very influenced by preconceptions and decisions, so I’m not sure the appeal to definitions saves us from what’s risked without them.

  18. Adam Says:

    LS, to quote a popular film: “You think because you don’t yell, you’re not mean.”

    Preemptively painting Anthony as a constant user of personal attacks against poor innocent Levi is itself an ad hominem attack! Particularly because the “poor innocent Levi” thing — isn’t actually true! I haven’t kept track of all the insults you’ve hurled at Anthony personally, but you’ve broadly characterized this blog as carrying water for the religious right, you’ve outright called me personally a fundamentalist, you made a comparison (which we “misunderstood”) between us and Nazi sympathizers…. I mean, seriously. Maybe if you weren’t so radically tone-deaf, these conversations would go better.

  19. larvalsubjects Says:

    Honestly, Anthony, I can’t recall a single argument you’ve ever given as to why that understanding is mistaken.

    Thanks for the clarification as to what you have in mind by “manifestation”. The sense of the term isn’t self-evident, nor the philosophical commitments behind the term. For instance, one could ask “what is it that appears?”

    Your explanation of the distinction between philosophy of religion and rhetoric goes some of the way towards clarifying what you’re trying to get at.

    I am not at all suggesting that these difficulties disappear through definition, nor do I at all disagree that all things exceed their definitions. I don’t see how this should entail giving up on all definitions. A lot of needless confusion and disagreement can be avoided by simply providing a few pointers as to how one understands things, rather than assuming one can read your mind. My questions are not “essay questions”, but an attempt to get clear as to what you’re saying so as to avoid that conflict.

  20. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    ‘A lot of needless confusion and disagreement can be avoided by simply providing a few pointers as to how one understands things, rather than assuming one can read your mind.’

    Yeah, sorry, I assumed you’ve read the comments and posts I’ve written and have the intellectual talent to infer.

  21. larvalsubjects Says:

    Adam, I think that there’s been a particular feedback loop here that has escalated over time. As I recall, our first encounter was over at I Cite. You had made a remark about religion and I flippantly said something like “ever since god died, I’m not sure why we’d worry about that.” You went apoplectic in response to that and it all went downhill from there. The friend/enemy distinction set itself in place and I got neatly placed in the enemy category as the wicked atheist. No doubt I’ve done a bit of this myself, though I’ve tried to understand APS’s and your positions. And it seems that the two of you still make some effort to understand me, no matter how frustrating you find it.

    We’ve been over the ground of the defending the religious right debates and the whole Nazi thing. I think initially I took you for a fundamentalist because your mode of social interaction with those outside your camp resembled that of the fundamentalists I’d encountered, and because you appeared to be so vigorous in rejecting and denying any criticisms of fundamentalist religious movements. The form of your interaction strongly resembled that of fundamentalism. I was wrong to impute the content of that position to you. Of course, for Zizek fundamentalism isn’t the worst position to advocate. Not only is it a highly effective frame or symbolic structuration for attaining a particular form of jouissance with regard to how one comports to others, it has the added benefits of not falling prey to all those neoliberal compromises that simply reinforce the dominant mechanisms and ideologies of late capitalism, and of situating that particular jouissance within the frame of a world-historical struggle and mission thereby giving life meaning:

    Not all bad. Of course, I’m referring here not to crass, reactionary, rightwing Christian conservativism but a suitable leftist, Marxist fundamentalism. Again, form not content.

    Generally I appreciate your insights and arguments when you give them– the recent gloss on Zizek’s trajectory was terrific –I just bristle at being called an idiot or being addressed in such a way that any disagreement I have or questions I have are somehow a moral offense.

  22. larvalsubjects Says:

    I have not read all your posts, nor all your comments. In a similar vein, a number of confusions and unpleasant disagreements can be ameliorated by not assuming.

  23. larvalsubjects Says:

    Adam, I think that there’s been a particular feedback loop here that has escalated and gotten worse over time… Though recently it’s been a bit better. As I recall, our first encounter was over at I Cite. You had made a remark about religion and I flippantly said something like “ever since god died, I’m not sure why we’d worry about that.” You went apoplectic in response to that and it all went downhill from there. The friend/enemy distinction set itself in place and I got neatly placed in the enemy category as the wicked atheist. No doubt I’ve done a bit of this myself, though I’ve tried to understand APS’s and your positions. And it seems that the two of you still make some effort to understand me, no matter how frustrating you find it.

    We’ve been over the ground of the defending the religious right debates and the whole Nazi thing. I think initially I took you for a fundamentalist because your mode of social interaction with those outside your camp resembled that of the fundamentalists I’d encountered, and because you appeared to be so vigorous in rejecting and denying any criticisms of fundamentalist religious movements. The form of your interaction strongly resembled that of fundamentalism. I was wrong to impute the content of that position to you. Of course, for Zizek fundamentalism isn’t the worst position to advocate. Not only is it a highly effective frame or symbolic structuration for attaining a particular form of jouissance with regard to how one comports to others, it has the added benefits of not falling prey to all those neoliberal compromises that simply reinforce the dominant mechanisms and ideologies of late capitalism, and of situating that particular jouissance within the frame of a world-historical struggle and mission thereby giving life meaning:

    Not all bad. Of course, I’m referring here not to crass, reactionary, rightwing Christian conservativism but a suitable leftist, Marxist fundamentalism. Again, form not content.

    Generally I appreciate your insights and arguments when you give them– the recent gloss on Zizek’s trajectory was terrific –I just bristle at being called an idiot or being addressed in such a way that any disagreement I have or questions I have are somehow a moral offense.

  24. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    For all the times you’ve said I’m an ungracious reader I just assumed that meant you were gracious and actually read.

  25. Adam Says:

    A point of order: One of the rules of this blog is that any commenter asking questions that require the post author to “start from scratch” in explaining are encouraged to do further research. In other words, no basic questions allowed. We are not responsible for your education or personal growth.

    For example, if you’re confused about what Anthony means by “piety” or “religion,” there are dozens of posts on this blog where he fleshes out those ideas. You could also infer, based on past conversations, that he’s drawing his understanding partly from Goodchild, and so hit that up as a way of figuring out what he’s getting at.

    In light of this wealth of information (most of which is at your fingertips), asking Anthony to explain his understanding of religion “from scratch” is exhorbitant and richly deserving of sarcastic responses.

  26. larvalsubjects Says:

    Fair enough, although this is a question that has come up for over a year and which began on my blog before AUFS even came into existence. For instance, it was one of the major issues in a comment thread that spiraled out to some 80 posts. By this time, I’ve somewhat concluded that Anthony is just incapable of articulating what I’m asking– which could really be done in a sentence or two, a paragraph max –and he’s simply being evasive for whatever reason. It really isn’t that inexcusable as a question, especially when the term is being so potently wielded as a master-signifier and is such a central point of contention. I am more than happy to give a rough and provisional definition of what I understand philosophy to be whenever someone asks or whenever the issue comes up.

    I note that one of my posts appears to be deleted or it went into the spam cue.

  27. larvalsubjects Says:

    Additionally, it seems to me that Anthony uses the term in an idiosyncratic and highly original way (which is not necessarily a bad thing or something he should cease doing). In such instances, it’s not off base to ask for clarification. I recently asked for such clarification in response to his three part post on immanence and suffering. After reading those posts I found there was much to commend in what he was thinking about, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, see why the particular issues he was discussing should be characterized as pertaining to religion. He responded to my query not with an explanation of why these things are unique to religion as he understands it, but with a good deal of ire that I had somehow misread him or was characterizing him as an idiot (again, the mind-reading thing where someone is supposed to simply immediately understand how terms are being used and what the others are thinking and are guilty of a moral transgression and affront when they don’t).

  28. larvalsubjects Says:

    To aid in the acquisition of acquiring such insight into Anthony’s views, it would be very helpful to add a search function so that searches didn’t have to proceed by tags alone.

  29. Adam Says:

    See, but I’m not a fundamentalist, of any kind. You’re mistaking my occasional harshness for fundamentalism.

    The link to The Fragile Absolute was kind of patronizing in this context. Yes, we’ve all fucking read it.

  30. larvalsubjects Says:

    And damn it, just to fulfill my quota of obsessional jouissance for the day by commenting one last time in an obsessive fashion…

    The discussion has entirely moved away from the Deleuze quote and what precisely is religious about it and what authorizes the characterization of Deleuze and Guattari as religious or evangelical when they so often inveigh against religion and Christianity. To be fair to Anthony, he’s gone part of the way of “rendering his position explicit” with his brief remarks about manifestation. This would also explain why Anthony has characterized me as religious on occasion in my remarks about the Enlightenment.

  31. Adam Says:

    I’ve just opened it up so that this site is searchable by Google. It probably won’t be indexed for a few days. You can search just this blog by including “site:itself.wordpress.com” in your search string.

  32. larvalsubjects Says:

    throws hands up in the air

    I wasn’t suggesting you hadn’t but trying to be clear as to what exactly I was referring to in Zizek.

    I think fundamentalism has a certain form or structure that isn’t simply a matter of harshness and need not at all be a matter of religion.

    It has very clear argumentative structures, a well defined structure of the social space, particular structures of what discourse is about and so on.

  33. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    It’s true, I’m mentally incapable of articulating what you want from me. Partly because I don’t like debate, as it generally is more about winning than anything fruitful, and I really don’t want to have a debate where you set the parameters.

  34. Adam Says:

    Right, and I’m saying that the only thing I have in common with fundamentalists is that sometimes I’m “mean” in conversation — i.e., a superficial thing.

  35. Alex Says:

    Apologies, and maybe I read it in an awful state of mind, but I thought The Fragile Absolute was pretty awful on fundamentalism and/or anything.


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